Best of all, unlike a brick-and-mortar business, you don’t need a lot of startup capital. In fact, you can get many internet businesses up and running with no money at all because so many free services facilitate the possibility. For example, you can set up a website or blog for free using WordPress. Or you can leverage a third-party site like Amazon or eBay to sell goods with no inventory costs. You use their selling platform in exchange for giving them a cut of your sales.
To own and operate your own online business doesn’t mean you have to necessarily build a business from scratch. Many entrepreneurs do because they have the time, skills and energy to, but another option exists. If you’re interested in operating your own online business but want to fast forward through the formative years of generating traffic, profit and customers then consider purchasing an online business for sale.
Why? Let's take a look at the numbers for a moment. Consider this: according to a report by eMarketer, digital ad spending in the U.S. will exceed traditional ad spending for the first time this year. By 2023, digital will surpass two-thirds of total media spending. Total digital ad spending in the U.S. will grow 19% to $129.34 billion this year -- 54.2% of estimated total U.S. ad spending.
Verify any potential liabilities, guarantees, etc., that may have been offered in the past. Get copies of old site versions from the owner. Some sites began by offering 1-2-or 5-year guarantees on their product. These claims can come back to haunt you. You’ll need the seller to indemnify you from any future claims or you need to have a mechanism to offset any claims against the balance of sale.
A little due diligence is wise before you initiate contact. You want to make sure the online business is healthy. You can use tools like SEMrush to analyze website traffic and Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs to dive into its link profile. If the traffic and backlink profile look solid, you can then approach the owner. If there are any red flags, like a spammy link profile, then you will want to dive into your research a little deeper to determine if it’s even worth pursuing.
Set up a merchant account. Service businesses in the past had to generally rely on cash or check—setting up an entire credit card processing system was a thankless, expensive task at best. Using a service such as PayPal makes it possible to accept virtually any form of credit or debit card for your services, and includes dispute resolution should the need arise (and it will arise).
Focus on user experience. Your biggest considerations with an ecommerce site will be setting up your website to offer the best user experience. Choosing the right web design is crucial, as is making sure that your shopping cart software is well-suited for your business. Be sure to check out the various shopping cart options available—from Shopify to X-Cart and many more.
Perhaps the best part about an online venture is that you can get into one quickly and inexpensively whether you buy an existing one or start one from scratch. However, multiples for successful online ventures are far greater than most bricks-and-mortar businesses because of many of the factors you’ll read about here. Additionally, because an online business can be run from anywhere at anytime, it’s an ideal business to have if you’re not yet ready to take the full plunge into your own business or you like to travel, work remotely or casually (it’s 3:00 pm now and I’m in Australia with my family on vacation, looking out at the spectacular Sydney Harbor and famous Opera House… and, even better, people are buying our program right now. Gotta love it!).
Facebook continues to expand and grow. Therefore businesses are spending more on Facebook ads. But here’s the problem: a lot of old school businesses don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to Facebook ads. Even newer companies don’t have the time it takes to learn the ins and outs so that they get the most return on their Facebook ads investment.
Launching and building a vacation rental business might require some sweat equity along with the right turnkey software solution to help you keep things organized as bookings ramp up, but if you have an acute attention to detail, then this is by far one of the best businesses you can start online. Of course, this does operate in the real world, but your web presence and marketing skills are really what define this business and helps it to succeed.
It’s possible to set up a website yourself, but unless you’re a designer or Web developer, you can expect a pretty steep learning curve. If you have the budget, consider hiring a professional to help you with some or all of the following: configuring the site to look the way you want and include the features you need; creating and inserting a logo; optimizing the site for search engines; and creating text and images. For more information, read this guide by Foundr with a detailed explanation of what it takes to setup website and develop it.